A Look at How One Zoom Lens Can Tell Three Stories


Many prime lens lovers will tell you they don’t need no stinkin’ zoom lenses, just “zoom with your feet” as they say. But there is a point to zoom lenses, and it’s not just the versatility of having multiple focal lengths—it’s the ability to tell different stories with the same lens.

As this excellent little video demonstration by photographer Darwin Wiggett shows, a versatile zoom lens like the 24-105 used here gives you at least three different stories depending on where you want to put the emphasis:

You can emphasize the foreground by going wide and getting close to the foreground to make it huge in comparison to your background. You can emphasize the background by zooming all the way in and stepping back to make the background seem huge in comparison to your foreground. Or you can replicate the FOV of the human eye by sitting right in the middle of your zoom range and tell a more “natural” story.

One lens, three stories.

In the end, as Wiggett points out, your most important tools at your disposal are actually still your feet. But you’re not using them just to zoom, you’re using them to tell better stories.